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1.Human spirit dwells within each invention and art; it was put there by its artist; and each brush stroke, each sentence, each intention behind every action towards it gives form to the art that stands before us. Every doctrine, religion, blueprint, philosophy or self-help book is what Nietzsche called “the self confession of its originator and a form of unintentional and unrecorded memoir”. No account, no interpretation, no history is wholly impersonal as long as it is spoken through the mouth of a human being. Literature itself (perhaps apart from the most objective of non-fictions)—and really, any art in general—by necessity, contains the personal, the metaphysical, and the moral underpinnings of its authors.
2.Every expression, from the simplest morpheme to the greatest epics, from every theory and every religion, contains the creator’s pathos, ethos, and logos; and we can perhaps better understand its intent, the “spirit” of the work, its art, the creator’s meaning, if we consider this origin. The artist has presented us with a gift. However, as the mythology of gifts has warned us, there is always the threat of a trojan horse. The art is always an ideology that is not our own. To truly reap the benefits of this gift and to see its true utility, does not occur upon accepting its dogmas on the author’s authority, but by becoming the authority ourselves, comparing our pathos, ethos, and logos to that of what remains in the work after we have utterly destroyed it, perhaps for the sake of remaining sovereign over our own expression, retaining some sense of our own freedom, wisdom and peace in the face of another’s. Perhaps.
3.George Santayana said of William James: “he was so extremely natural that there was no knowing what his nature was, or what came next.” A profound compliment fit for a profound man. To be so natural that one still had the power to surprise even the most deepest and poetic of thinkers, to generate new ideas, to remind us of who we are in new ways, to wonder, to inspire within the midst of nature—where are the natural ones today?
4.Then, when one is bored, observe the priestly types. Observe the way they sell a doctrine and a word that is not their own. History for them is not a conversation, but a market place, a sales pitch; and they are selling the same stale product in an overly-saturated industry. How natural is this? We do best to lock our doors when they come knocking, gifts in hand. The sell us only stale, abstract, and flavourless concepts—enlightenment, divinity, oneness, afterlives—concepts without any substance, without any nature, for we purchase the name only.
5.To anyone who has payed any attention to how humanity has expressed herself in modern times, one might notice a lack of the critical spirit. Billions of people follow a religion, and very few create their own. There is an apparent reliance on the critical spirits of others where it may lack in ourselves. “He has done the work for us and we shall benefit thereby.” In intellectual poverty, criticism is nowadays a state-ran institution not unlike welfare—and boy are we poor.
6.Oscar Wilde would tell a tale of “the critical spirit”, a synthesis of the two supreme highest arts, “Life and Literature, life and the perfect expression of life”. Criticism is the weapon of choice for the critical spirit, to take part in the dialectical war that we know as History is his aim. And all this perhaps so that others don’t have to. Perhaps.
Life is much more harmonious and kind when we offer suggestions to each other rather than harsh criticisms. Criticism is a way to express disapproval based on some perceived "faults" or "mistakes". A person who lives like that is never happy because nothing is ever good enough for him or her. Life can be much more kind and harmonious when we offer suggestions and build upon what we do like.
reply to post by Itisnowagain
You should read "Infinite Jest" by the same author.
If one has a stable life and means of existence, and goes to work, and then wants to enjoy their free time, what good is spending their time with mental strain in the form of critical thought? Where will that get us, what will that do for us, our culture has evolved mainly solely (to go along with your greek philosophy camp relations) as hedonists, pleasure being the highest value. It is not highly pleasurable for the masses to fill their minds with questions and spend time mulling them. It is more pleasurable to feel good.
Perhaps you come from a religious background so it was really ingrained in your life and that is why you need to so strongly vet against it and justify your disillusionment with it, if that is the case I suppose maybe you want to help others who are trapped in their delusions. If that is not the case I dont know why you would even bother considering the subject...though yes I can see some interesting pertainments.
What is a critic but one who reads quickly and arrogantly but never wisely? Cited from the film 'Cloud Atlas'.
I also think you’re right about the idea of entertainment or not. I like that idea. I feel that some people see their lives as a game, i.e.. a series of squares, or rules, one must follow to reach an objective, whereas some—and I hope to count myself among them—see life as an adventure, where the child at play gets free reign.
If I can feed off your insights, as it sort of feeds into some thoughts I've been having...It seems in modern times, where people have encountered idleness, boredom is the enemy of the day. People cannot handle their own minds, so they preoccupy it with whatever is close at hand, rather than allowing that boredom to push them to better themselves in all aspects of life. You’re absolutely right. But there’s so much opportunity in boredom. And there is no philosophy of boredom whatsoever save for perhaps some Buddhist concepts. I’ve looked. Even psychology is having difficulty defining it. I feel that boredom will become a topic of interest for philosophy in the future, especially with how it ties into creativity, or the lack thereof (I have yet to work this concept out).
Absolutely. This is quite apparent. And if I can continue to bounce of your ideas...There is, for most, no need to contemplate. Either because its difficult, or we simply do not have the time to focus on such matters. But when we do have the time and the boredom, we resort to the path of least resistance to keep our insatiability and desires preoccupied when we perhaps should be utilizing them. It’s almost like a lack of creativity. "Entertainment" is utilization of the creativity of others to preoccupy our own need to be creative. I don’t know if that idea holds any weight quite yet, but it sounds like a fun angle.
Yes it is exactly like meditation—at least as it is sold nowadays. Silencing the mind and focusing is as easy as going to sleep, or turning on the television from what I’ve noticed. But I fear that sort of thinking lets the mind grow stale, "you don’t use it you lose it" sort of deal. Besides, it's not possible to not think. Strengthening the mind takes exercise like a more classical approach to meditation i.e. straight-up contemplation and thinking and creativity. If one needs to suppress his thoughts to focus, I'd wager its because he hasn't realized the utility of thinking and focusing in tandem.
I must admit I have a tough time when people "cite" movies. A sign of the times I suppose.
What is a critic but one who reads quickly and arrogantly but never wisely?
What is a critic but one who reads quickly and arrogantly but never wisely?
I think the situation is analogous to "competition." Where-in, such experiences are not viewed as arenas of opportunity but as ways to stroke pride and humiliate.
If we actually have free will, then why do we decide to be this way?